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>> welcome to "the journal." >> welcome. >> fighting spreads in libya as government and rebel forces make claims of progress. new monopoly authorities launched raids on three of your's top truck makers. >> in man who shot two u.s. servicemen was acting alone in frankfurt. captioned by the national captioning institute >> muammar gaddafi's forces are
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fighting rebels on several fronts. in the west security forces launched an offensive to retake one town. in tripoli, protesters took to the streets calling for the end of muammar gaddafi's rule. there have been no reports of injuries. heavily armed rebels clashed with muammar gaddafi's forces elsewhere. the head of the rebel council says the fighting will not stop until the opposition liberates the entire country. the rebels are preparing to march on tripoli. >> rebels under fire from khadafi = = -- gaddafi loyalists.
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this man screams he wants to murder his own people. this is the site of a key oil terminal. rebels fired a sustained brian shaw of artillery in an attempt to overrun a military base. fighting was also reported 200 kilometers to the east. loyalist forces are taking a position outside one city. rebels are manning anti-aircraft guns around the clock. >> we have had enough. we want progress and not a corrupt ruler. we are telling muammar gaddafi to leave. he is a muslim but his mask has slipped. >> aerial bombardments were reported in a neighboring town. muammar gaddafi's forces intensified their assault near tripoli. at least 30 people were killed
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and 300 wounded. witnesses told dw-tv will list soldiers conducted many rebel fighters. the battle has been raging for days. this amateur video was shot during an air strike. protesters took to the streets after friday prayers. they were met by security forces who fired live ammunition. loyalists are keeping the capital under lockdown. >> earlier i spoke to martin fletcher who was in tripoli. i asked him to tell us more about the demonstrations today. >> there were only two demonstrations against the regime. this was a day on which muammar gaddafi's forces saturated the city. wherever you went there were
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tanks and roadblocks and loyalists in unmarked cars. we were turned back several times. it was almost impossible to move without being stopped. one demonstration was [unintelligible] a few hundred people turned out after friday prayers. they were quickly dispersed with tear gas. the other was near tangier square. the pro-gaddafi demonstrations you see all the time. they are celebrating because as long as he holds tripoli he cannot be ousted. >> how much support would you said muammar gaddafi really has? >> we as western journalists --
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the regime organizers manage protests in support of gaddafi. on the edges of those protests people will -- they say don't believe it. these people have paid and they come out for gaddafi. it is really hard to tell. he does have some support. there are people who have benefited from the regime but you should not be deceived by the pictures you are seeing on your screen. these demonstrations are stage managed by people properly paid to turn out. >> thank you for your perspective. let's get to the latest from the rebel stronghold in eastern libya.
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our correspondent is there. there are reports fighting is going on in several areas with the rebels and government claiming success. what are you hearing? >> the rebels have managed to move more towards the west. there is fighting going on around one city which is about 50 kilometers west of where the fighting was going on yesterday. one of the things that happened is they gaddafi forces bombarded an area 50 kilometers away. the latest numbers show 16 people have died. >> are both sides evenly matched? >> it is back and forth. what happened is the gadaffi
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forces tried an offensive to enter a territory in the east. [unintelligible] they also moved further to the west. they moved for their turrets tripoli -- they moved further toward tripoli. one of the problems is gaddafi is controlling the air space. the last air strike was 50 kilometers away from here. >> would you say the rebels would support a no-fly zone? >> they do. they say there is a consensus they don't want to have ground forces on the ground. they are agreeing on a no-fly zone. >> we thank you very much for that uthe scramble to leave liba
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continues as migrant workers try to make their way back,. 180,000 people have already fled and many are at the border with tunisiaaid and position said they don't have protections against the strong winds. the lack of sanitary facilities is making the situation worse. to egypt where the new prime minister has praised the country's revolution and said he will work to me protesters' demands. many joined theme protests at tahrir square. military leaders named him as a successor on thursday. demonstrators' use the gathering is to repeat calls for the
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release of an end to the 30 year state of emergency. i will have more on the political outlook coming up in our in-depth report. friday prayers were also combined with protests elsewhere. thousands of demonstrators gathered -- gathered in the yemeni capital. security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters killing at least two people. there is a shortage of jobs and other services. soldiers and police moved in to break up a demonstration. let's turn it over to ariani with concerns over the strength of the euro. >> countries like greece and ireland on the brink of
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bankruptcy -- this has stabilized the situation but a lot remains to be signed. -- a lot remains to be done. angela merkel held a strategy meeting this friday. >> chancellor merkle seemed satisfied as she emerged from her meeting. the details of an overall strategy for the euro zone has not been satisfied but the direction is clear. >> we agree tightening the terms of the growth is a right way to encourage more responsibility among member states. we also agree on the need to increase the competitiveness of the eu. >> they plan to achieve that through tighter fiscal discipline and wage alignment
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remains controversial. >> we do welcome the german government's proposals in this direction but we need to talk further about certain aspects of what will be decided. >> but both want to send a clear signal they are committed to the euro and solidarity with europe. >> german stocks took a dip towards the end of friday's session. we have this report from the frankfurt stock exchange. >> at the end of a volatile week the dax took a nosedive. the uncertainties that struck the market down are still high as investors are saying [unintelligible] on the turmoils we see in the arabian world.
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investors waited for new economic data to come from the u.s. the jobs market has been better than expected. the unemployment rate went down in the u.s. and industrial on those have been better, but charisse went down sharply because if the situation is too good people start to discuss interest rates. >> let's take a closer look at the market numbers. the dax closed down words. the dow jones industrials are going down at 12,123. the euro is trading at $1.39. air bus parent said it will not protest the pentagon's decision to order an error table -- air tanker project.
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it is one of the largest contracts in the defense department's history. boeing and airbus fought for years over the contract and battling over -- a day of action as unions caused the destruction. workers launched a series of protests to demand better pay rises. strikers blocked access to key industrial areas, super markets and factories. this caused anger among many truck drivers. thousands condemn the day of action describing it as a disaster for the country's image. european union authorities launched cartel raids on major
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truck manufacturers in europe. investigating allegations about price fixing. the european commission can fine companies for infringing eu rules. >> they report says the european truck makers have been recently making deals on prices for more than a decade. this covers half a dozen european countries with some of the biggest truck maker is believed to be involved. antitrust investigators were quick to swoop on manufacturers. going by market share, daimler was number 1 in the sector in 2009. 11% of all trucks came from daimler. germany passed as almost 4%. this is what brought the case to
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light. it seems likely by acting as a whistle-blower, man hopes to escape penalties for its own involvement. >> federal prosecutors in germany believe a man who admitted to shooting dead two american airmen was acting alone. prosecutors say the suspect who was born in cozumel says he was inspired -- born in kosovo inspired to carry out the attacks after dealing jihadist sites. >> a man claims jihadist web sites inspired him. before wednesday there was nothing suspicious about the man of what he saw on the internet radicalize them within weeks.
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>> in this case it highlights the importance of combating propaganda such as the material that probably lead to this incident. >> new details have emerged about the killings. the man shot his first trick them in the back of the head. he fired on his other victims at close range. the loss of life would have been greater but when he put his head to the fit servicemen's head, it jammed. >> initial investigations suggest this person was acting alone. there are no indications others were involved in the planning. or that he was a member of a terrorist network. >> prosecutors said this highlights the danger posed by individuals carrying out spontaneous terrorist acts.
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we will be back with an in-depth look at egypt on its path to reform.
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>> it has been three weeks since the ouster of the president mubarak but even though he has gone the protests continue. demonstrators are keeping up the pressure to bring about real change and implement democratic reforms. the new authorities have taken a few important steps. opposition groups and minority representatives are included in the decisionmaking process but many feel in order to move forward to anyone that had ties to mubarak has to be excluded. >> mubarak is being taken down but this is largely a symbolic
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gesture. the power largely remains in the same old hands. this -- the ministers are still trying to keep their hold over the country. in control of egypt now is the 75-year-old who was defense minister for two decades and is loyal to mubarak. he won the protesters trust by not giving orders to shoot. he is promising to hold elections but on saturday the military was bludgeoning protesters. there was an apology but they trust was broken. don't play games, reads the placards carried by the demonstrators in still gather in tahrir square. they forced a change at the head of the cabinet. the new prime minister has been asked to put together an interim
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government. he replaces the man who had held onto his position since thursday. he was appointed by the former leader days before he stepped down. it had been one of the protesters key demands he stepped down along with the entire leadership. that includes a diplomat for many years who became the foreign minister in 2004. he was a staunch supporter of mubarak until the very end. he has been congratulated on its successful revelation. another figure is the justice minister. he has held the position since 2005. he was responsible for imprisoned dissidents and declaring riggs elections free and fair. he presided over the arrest of some of the regime's leading figures.
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he is seen by many as a political turncoat. does it need the old leadership to guide it through this time for fresh blood into top positions? it is a delicate balance but many fear the elite will do all they can to cling on to power. >> earlier i spoke to a middle east analyst here in berlin. i asked her if it was true of many members are still in power and whether the opposition was justified in talking about a counterrevolution. >> i think that is too harsh a phrase but what is true is the revelation park won this successful. revolution part two is still ahead. the military is not the honest broker they pretend to be.
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they have an interest in changes but not too deep changes. i think it is of this those you have an interest are organized and order to keep these structures alive. >> how do you view the resignation of the prime minister? >> that is a real victory. he was heavily criticized. he is a man of mubarak. the appointment of the civilians who have been participating in the demonstrations is a good move for that will give the military legitimacy. this will tell the opposition as long as we stay together and voice our complaints then the military will be forced to do something. >> a referendum on constitutional reforms is planned for march.
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what do you make of this? >> these changes are important. tt could the constitutional committee focused only on those which have been prohibiting the democratic competitive elections. they are only subject to change the 10 paragraphs and say the new parliament and new president should open the process of the constitutional reform. >> is the opposition is strong enough to push through democratic reforms? >> i think so. i think there is a danger that the opposition will be split. the state media is still there having a campaign against the demonstrations and torture is still happening. the game is open.
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>> are middle east analyst speaking to us earlier. one prominent campaigner for freedom and democracy spent days on end in tahrir square. he held press conferences in his office in order to draw the world's attention to the situation. mubarak is gone but this man is warning of a counterrevolution. we heard more about his views. >> he is popular among ordinary egyptians but not among the country's political elite. he has been a critic of the social situation in egypt for years. while mubarak may be gone, the revolution is far from over. >> the remnants of the old party are still in power.
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people are still being arrested and tortured but now we have a voice. >> many in egypt agreed with his new. he has become a figurehead of the revolution. the audience asks how he sees the role of the security forces in the future. >> if a new government wants to change the security forces the police must change their way of thinking. the interior minister praised the security forces. later they said they were issuing uniforms. it was not the uniforms we were opposed to. >> one of his most critical books was "the utopian building." the book and film were successful but controversial in egypt. the story includes corruption
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and torture. he denounces the regime and accuses the west of turning a blind eye to its abuses. >> western governments talk about democracy but when it comes to the crunch they do not act on their words. we are not relying on western governments. we are relying on the people of the west. >> egyptians want to form their own democracy without the political old guard. many would like to see intellectuals in the new government. >> authors should remain authors. >> but he has had little time to work on his new books since the demonstrations began. he will be back at his desk soon to begin writing about the
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egyptian revolution. >> thanks for joining us here. stay tuned if you can.
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>> hinojosa: his first book of short stories took us by storm, and with his debut novel the brief wonderous life of oscar wao, he won a pulitzer prize. today he's considered one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary fiction-- novelist junot diaz. i'm maria hinojosa. this is one on one. junot, welcome to the show. >> thank you for having me, maria. >> hinojosa: so, a pulitzer for the brief wonderous life of oscar wao. are you still on the pulitzer high?
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>> no. i don't know if i ever got the pulitzer high. >> hinojosa: no. >> yeah. well, i mean, it's just more about my personality. again, my friends pointed out that i never had a party or even a celebration for it. i just kept working. so that's usually the way i am. but you know, it's been a great ride. i've had a lot of fun. >> hinojosa: okay, so when you called your mom, what did you say? i mean, i want you to say, like, the exact words-- (speaking spanish) >> i didn't call my mom. i was at her house. >> hinojosa: oh! so what did you say to your mom? >> nothing. i just said... i mean, not nothing. i said, "mother... (speaking spanish)" and she's... my mother's very practical, you know? she's like, you know, "(speaking spanish)" i said, "(speaking spanish)," and she laughed. she was like, "oh, well, divide $10,000 by 11 years, and you have..." but she was thinking... yeah. >> hinojosa: i was wondering how
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you would have said pulitzer to your mom. because, you know, there's this thing that dominicans do with language. in fact, that's how oscar wao came to be, right? i mean, you looked at the name oscar wilde, and you said... >> well, yeah, no. i mean, part of it, it's just... it's more... it's not even just dominicans. it's what happens when you exist in two languages-- and some people exist in three or four-- is that words begin to have resonances outside of their... you know, their kind of standard place in their original language. wilde, when pronounced in spanish, sounds like wao, and that's a fun kind of collusion. >> hinojosa: one of the things that i loved about the book is that, you know, you are, along with julia alvarez, the writers who are kind of bringing the dominican reality into the american lexicon. so what is it... and it's really hard to simplify or generalize an entire country's experience, and what you want kind of your american brethren living in this
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country to understand about dominicans. what is it that you want them to undestand about the dominican experience? >> well, i mean, fortunately, there's also a group of other writers, too. there's, like, angie cruz, nellie rosario, loida maritza perez. i think that the whole thing with literature, from what my standpoint is, and it's going to be personal and limited, is... you know, i mean, at its core, literature is about, you know... for a reader it's about encountering, you know, the human experience. it's about encountering through other people, made up people, fantastic people, distant people, people from other times, encountering yourself. i think that as a dominican writer specifically, i think that, you know, it would be hard for me to generalize what everyone's going to be up to, what's the project of all dominican writers, or even what's the project of the reader who encounters the book. because even readers bring a project to their reading. but i certainly would argue
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that, you know, the fact that about a million dominicans came to the united states, specifically around the new york city area, in a brief period of time, in 20 years, basically, an entire diaspora happened in fast forward. i think that that... i think about 15% of a nation was torn away from that nation and transplanted in the american northeast in an incredibly short period of time when you're thinking about demographics. and i think that both that dislocation, that trauma, that transition, that transformation, combined with the fact that the dominican republic and the united states have always have a very, very connected history... >> hinojosa: which is a history that most people in this country don't know about. >> sure. but i would argue most people in santo domingo don't know about it either. >> hinojosa: the fact that in 1965 the united states invaded, you think right now still domincan's don't... >> well, i mean, i would argue that that's itself... i mean, you know, the person who gets
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invaded always remembers longer. but, i mean, how many dominicans remember that, you know, the dominican republic was almost annexed by the united states? i mean, you walk around the street and ask the average dominican, and say, "when was the american... first american occupation?" you know, i think that history in the new world has a way of eluding even the people who were victimized by it. and, you know, one of the things that happens when you're a storyteller is that you face every day the fact that stories, unless they're powerfully told, and the people who are keeping these stories alive have a lot invested in them, stories have a way of fading. they're ephemeral, just like we are. i mean, that's why we are so connected to our stories. >> hinojosa: one of the things, though, that you bring out in this book is a really difficult time in the dominican republic, that, you know, whether or not young dominicans are actually walking around talking about what it was like to live under a
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dictator like trujillo, you write about that. you make it kind of clear that there was a dictator who was very close in proximity to this country, relatively, who was pretty vicious. >> yeah. >> hinojosa: the lasting impact of trujuillo on, let's say, a generation, your generation, your and a little bit younger, is what? >> that's, i think, what i wrestle with with my literature. i think that that is... >> hinojosa: so the profoundness of it was so deep that it's like you're still trying to... >> well, it's not only that it's so deep, but how do you articulate something for which there is almost no metrics for? i mean, where is... in our human experience, where have we created a metric that can sort of measure, you know, horrific violence, that can measure indifferent power, that can measure the kind of totalitarian abuse that people suffer under
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dictatorships, that can measure the loss of hope, that can measure the sort of broken spirit? and the fact, for us to understand what the trujillo regime and any other dictatorship did to a people, to a culture, to generations, we would have to summon the dead. we would have to summon all the people who died under this regime, who were disappeared, who went mad... >> hinojosa: thousands, thousands. >> thousands and more. and only with the dead in conversation with the living could we begin to approximate what it means. i think that as an artist, you're.... at least for me as an artist, i'm trying to imagine this conversation happening. i can't summon the dead, i can't summon all the living, i can't summon everyone together to have a little chat about how this has deformed our culture, you know? and... but you try. i mean, that's the space of literature, that you can imagine it. >> hinojosa: and how much of kind of post trujillo reality in terms of race still exists in
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the dominican republic, in the sense of... another thing that you talk about a lot in your work is again this kind of... unless you know the dominican-haitian reality closely, you're not necessarily going to understand the fact that they share an island, dominican republic and haiti, and that there's this division, that it's kind of hard to get from one side of the island to the other, and deep hatred between these two counties on a very kind of deep, deep level, and one that trujillo then goes and massacres 30,000 haitians. what about that kind of legacy? what does that do? >> well, i mean, it's... i mean, how many countries in the new world have 20th century genocide? i mean, certainly some come close, and some clearly have suffered them. i mean, what happened in guatemala has been sort of
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through united nations perspective, considered a genocide, sort of exterminationist... you know, exterminationist death squads from the military. but, you know, the dominican republic has clearly something that would be called unambiguous genocide. >> hinojosa: has it been qualified ever by the un? has there ever been any kind of... >> i don't think so. i don't think one needs... in this case i definitely don't need the imprimatur of the un to know that this clearly a genocide. i mean, genocide by machete. and look-- first this is kind of a three-parter, maybe even a 50-parter. i mean, racial relationships in the african diaspora are always very complicated. and that... there's times when they're relaxed, and there are times when the relationships are very violent. the dominican history with haiti hasn't always been fraught with this sort of toxic
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anti-haitianism. that's not the case. the fact that trujillo felt, this dictator felt the need in some ways to draw a line down the island in blood with a machete speaks to a deep discomfort trujillo had about a reality in the dominican republic and haiti that i think people often forget or sort of glide over, which was that these two countries were incredibly close. that there was a tremendous amount of contact between the two counties before the genocide. that as far away as santiago, considered the bastion of dominican identity, that the influences of haiti, the language, even the money, were being felt. >> hinojosa: and what's so problematic from the domenican perspective about that? >> well, i wouldn't argue that it's problematic from the domenican perspective. i would argue that it was problematic from the trujillo perspective. one of the best ways to maintain power, one of the best ways to
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create a state... you know, the write olaf stapledon says the nation is usually just a hate club, a super hate club. >> hinojosa: because you've got a border around yourselves. >> yeah, and the best way to create borders is by hating your neighbor. you know, and i think that there was more to that than this. i mean, a border as porous and as fluid as the one we found between the dominican republic and haitia before the genocide of 1937, i think trujillo's idea was twofold. a, he would bolster up the very fragile, atomized dominican nation, and b, he would, through a racial genocide, not only terrorize the haitian community but effectively terrorize the dominican community. i mean, that's a trauma. >> hinojosa: but even today, if you are... because... so people can kind of understand right now, in the dominican republic, the haitians are the cheapest labor there. they're the undocumented immigrants. and even today, if a haitian gives birth to a child in the
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dominican republic, does that child have dominican citizenship? >> oh, never. i mean, it hasn't been that way for... >> hinojosa: which is one of the issues here in terms of the immigration debate that was central, which was will they deny citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants? >> well, i mean, think about it. the first world nations are behaving abominably towards its immigrants, towards their immigrants. and so of course this is going to have a ripple effect. i mean, really? do you think the united states and canada and europe, quote-unquote the beacons of... supposedly of civilization are going to in any way intervene where this kind of abusive policy in a place like the dominican republic and other naitons... you know, i think santo domingo, of course, gets a lot of attenion focused on it for very good reasons, but it doesn't hold the only seat in the abuse council. >> hinojosa: but you want to point a finger at that, don't you? >> but everyone should. but again, it's like i said, what's really, really
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interesting is that i think in many cases the dominican republic is used as a way for folks to talk about... not to talk about how it's happening across the board. i mean, gee whiz, indigenous people in mexico, fully enfranchised citizens? >> hinojosa: not so much. >> not so much? yeah, that's an understatement. i think that throughout the americas, you find this paradigm again and again and again. the dominican republic makes it very explicit, but in no way is it... in no way is it the only practitioner of such cruelty. >> hinojosa: is it hard for you? how do you handle it kind of personally when you go to the dominican republic, when you see that right now what still exists there is, you know, apartheid, actually? >> what one brings to the latin american experience, what one brings through living and trying to interact in societies that are fundamentally organized around a medieval spanish
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racialism... so that i go to mexico, i see the same pattern played out as i see in the dominican republic. i go to colombia, i see the same pattern played out. but the societies don't understand themselves as apartheid societies. the societies don't understand themselves as being racially organized. the societies don't understand themselves as being these sort of violent, ugly, you know, ways is the new world legacy of dividing people by race, skin color, you know, and certain kinds of, like, you know, indiginous european dichotomies. and what you end up doing is that you end up living this experience in a way that i think in a place like the united states it can be hidden, that it can be ignored, that it can be papered over. i find myself, when i'm in the dominican republic, being
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invited to not see, being invited to not notice. the same happens when i go to mexico, when i go to colombia, when i've been to cuba, and when i'm in the united states. again, i think that latin america just makes more explicit relationships that are found at a global level. i've never been to india, but something tells me that my preparation in both santo domingo and in the united states to experience this stuff. >> hinojosa: so for people who have never heard of fuku... i mean, when i first read about it, i was like, "oh, my god, this is some deep stuff. this is..." because, you know, i'm married to a dominican. but it's amazing that so many people completely, completely get it. but simplify it. what is a fuku? >> it's... well, i mean, it's... i always say this. this is my pat answer, but i think it's one that's accurate. we belong to a hemisphere of people who are obsessed with
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curses. the american condition is in part a condition where we are sort of shadowed by this idea that we might either be the most blessed country in the world, or that perhaps really what's happening is that we're cursed. and artists and writers have wrestled with this for a very long time. the fuku is just a domenican version of the american preoccupation with curses, whether it's faulkner worried that the american south was eternally cursed because of the orignal, quote-unquote, sin of slavery, melville wrestling with other types of issues. yeah, people like that. for me, i just thought, "wow." curses are such a part of what... how americans view themselves, their identity, their history, that i just looked for the dominican version of a very, very big american preoccupation. >> hinojosa: so do you want... you want young people to get a sense of... and one of the things that's great about the book is you have these wonderful footnotes. there are some pages, junot,
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where i enjoyed the footnotes more than the page itself, which was pretty fascinating. but you want to be, like, this kind of teacher of history to a new generation, and you want them to think critically. i mean, essentially not to forget, right? >> well, i mean, but also the... i mean, again, it's... you've got to know i'm a fiction writer, so a lot of the history isn't actually accurate. you know, it's not meant to be a history book. in fact, it's arguing... >> hinojosa: it's the jon stewart form of history. >> well, but even jon stewart gets it right a lot of times. you know, i mean, i get it right too, but i think for me, what's important, certainly that there's these ideas that i don't want people to forget. but there's also this notion that history's very, very plastic, and that the same way that trujillo used history... you know, trujillo was basically like, "hey, the haitian community invaded us. hey, the spanish community did this and that. hey, america thinks of us as basically stepchildren,
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ex-slaves." history can always be manipulated. and i think that the plasticity of history is not only something that needs to be recognized, but that i think is part of the reason that so many people don't really want to mess with history, you know? history seems like such a... you know, a knot of snakes. and certainly i want folks to be aware of, you know, what has happened both in the united states and in the dominican republic that bears... at least in this last book, that bears strongly on the dominican community. but i'm also, like, trying to argue that history is a tool like anything else, and that people can use it for good, for bad, to put us to sleep, to wake us up, and that sometimes we never know how it's being used until it's often too late. a very good storyteller, like the storyteller in this book, can use history for what seems like incredibly positive purposes, but in fact it might be quite a diabolical intent behind it, you know? >> hinojosa: so it took you 11
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years to write oscar wao? >> yeah. >> hinojosa: and you had a lot of kind of publicly trying moments in the time. people knew the fact that you were going through... you talk about a writer's block. what was that like as an artist? how deep did it go, where you're just like, "my god..." >> well, i mean, it's tough to say, because it's... again i would argue that it's not that public. i was just a writer. i wasn't like... you know, if i was an athlete who couldn't hit any balls, you know... i mean, a-rod gets a lot of nonsense and gets a lot of flack when he can't function. as a writer, people don't notice much, especially if you're a person who's just coming off of a short story collection. but i think that the experience of wrestling with this novel for so long, i think made me who i am in some ways currently. >> hinojosa: which is... where are you at? >> i would just say that i
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certainly... i don't have any great sense of arrogance towards my skill as an artist. i think when i was... before i entered this book, i thought... like, i really was thinking, you know, "i'm the man, i can knock this thing out." and i learned humility. >> hinojosa: you mean after drown you did feel like... you did get kind of pumped up after drown. >> yeah, well, i think it's... not only after drown. i think my youth combined with, you know, some early attention, and i think that i had a sense that i could do everything. and i think that after this novel i realized that talent... there are limitations. and that... i guess i approach every piece of work now with an enormous amount of humility, you know, and an enormous sense that not everything... not everything goes easily, and that sometimes you've got to struggle like a beast to get the simplest thing done. >> hinojosa: so what's writing
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like now? are you writing now? >> not really. >> hinojosa: you're kind of taking a break? >> no, i'm just poking around, taking notes down, but i'm not fully... you know, it's sort of like, if you think about it, sleep. yeah, you know that stage right before you really get to sleep, and you're kind of hearing the tv, you hear the next room. if writing is sleep, i'm currently at that stage where i'm almost there. right now i'm just taking notes and reading, you know, writing small little things. but nothing yet. i haven't been able to put my whole body in it. >> hinojosa: and what's the thing that inspires you? you know, for different people it's different things. is it... you know, is it reading great stuff, or is it, you know, being completely alone and silent in a room where there's not much, you know, to hear or see? is it being connected, is it being disconnected? what kind of... what works for you? >> i think what really inspires me is how... and this might seem ridiculous. is how utterly elusive and contradictory life is.
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look, i just came back from santo domingo. i was in santo domingo last week. and i was thinking about a lot of the stuff we've been talking about. and i was thinking that, you know, it's so fascinating how deeply racist new world cultures are, whether it's america, whether it's puerto rico, whether it's mexico. and yet great difficulties have a way of creating all sorts of weird interesting mutation opportunities. so you look at a place like santo domingo, where a racial anti-black genocide transformed the landscape, transformed the way that people talk about race, transformed how people feel about race, and yet you look at the census reports, and you see that dominicans of all latinos identify at the greatest percentage with being of african descent. and the fact that these two things exist in one group, the fact that it's not such an easy
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thing to be like, "hmm," you know, "these are folks who are like x, y, and z." and i think that i'm constantly inspired. every time i hear a formula about reality, as an artist i know that it is not true. and i seek to find where that formula is not true. and i think that that's... >> hinojosa: that's a dark place to be. it's a really dark place to be, right? because you're constantly looking for the contradiction-- where is it going to come next? >> i feel a formula is the darkest place to be. i mean, somebody has a simplistic comfort... >> hinojosa: you don't like to wallow in it just for a little bit? be like, "mmm, feels kind of good to..." >> god, i'm in the simple toxic formula all day. i think that society teaches you to wallow nonstop. i think for me, what makes the art perfect is that the art is the only thing that invites me to get out of the slop pit of our simplicities. i mean, if it wasn't for my art, believe me, all i would do is
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wallow in the formulas, because that's really what i'm invited to do. that's what this culture encourages me to do. it is only my art, it is only my writing, that asks me really hard questions about things that i'd rather not think about. i mean, i would rather be rather comfortable in a lot of my received ideas. >> hinojosa: where does that kind of utter sense of uncomfortableness... does it come from the fact that you were a part of this diaspora? does it come because that was junot whether he was going to be in santo domingo or in newark or in, you know, wherever? >> hard to say. i think you're always looking for a way... you're always looking for a genealogy, you're always looking for a chain of causality, you know? plenty of my friends in santo domingo never emigrated. plenty of my friends emigrated. and yet it's hard to say how one personality is different from the other, or excuse me, how one personality gets formed. you know, i've got friends who stayed and emigrated, and they have the same kind of outlook, you know? so it's really tough to say
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where this came from. i know that if it wasn't for the arts, i would feel very strange. that i think that part of who i am found its home in the arts, in this place where we can really explore those difficult contradictions, where we can really explore that country where very few of us want to be at, in that country which is... that place where we are most human, where we are most vulnerable, where our myths fall away. and i've always been attracted to that. i've always been interested in that. i mean, since i was a little kid it was something that pulled me. and i feel that again, if there were no arts, a soul like mine would probably reach out and try to invent them. but luckily there are, and i was glad, because i was able to find a second home away from the home that i was given. >> hinojosa: junot, thank you so much for sharing the stories of oscar wau and for all of your
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work. it's really been a pleasure. >> oh, thank you for having me, maria. good luck with everything. >> hinojosa: thanks. >> hinojosa: continue the conversation at captioned by media access group at wgbh
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Sino Tv Early Evening News
PBS March 4, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PST


TOPIC FREQUENCY Dominican Republic 17, Trujillo 10, United States 9, Muammar Gaddafi 7, Dominican 6, Egypt 5, Gaddafi 4, Junot 4, Mexico 4, American 4, Haiti 4, New World 3, U.s. 3, Europe 3, Eu 2, Daimler 2, Wonderous Life Of Oscar Wao 2, Un 2, Jon Stewart 2, Maria 2
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